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CK girls capture 12th straight state crown

It was inevitable.

Though Christ the King girls’ basketball coach Bob Mackey downplayed it, the Royals’ winning the state Catholic High School Athletic Association championship Sunday was “supposed” to happened. The team’s 12th consecutive title — securing the Royals with a date in Glens Falls Friday — was not easy to come by, however.

For more than half the game, the St. Peter’s Eagles gave Christ the King all it could handle, holding a 28-7 halftime lead. But CK righted the ship, as it always seems to do, cruising to a 65-49 win at St. Francis College.

“It was a great, great first half and it was a great game,” Mackey said. “[The Eagles] executed their gameplan perfectly. We weren’t really on shooting-wise. The tempo favored them in the first half. In the second half we tried to increase the tempo. We basically tightened up the press a little bit and we got some great play off the bench.”

With All-American Clare Droesch on the bench much of the second half with foul trouble, the Royals went to Cigi McCollin, who scored 25 points against a much bigger team, which included Nikki Anosike and Tiffini Rodgers, both of whom stand 6-feet or better.

The pair made the difference for St. Peter’s in the first half, but when fouls became a concern, the Royals went right at the two Eagles. Two Candice Lindsay free throws midway through the third quarter gave the Royals a 34-33 lead, a lead they would never relinquish.

“There’s points in a game when you’re going to get an advantage,” Mackey said. “They’re a very good team, they’re well coached and disciplined. As I told the team before the game, there are no bad teams playing in the end of March. You have to play all four quarters.

“Cigi stepped up big time,” Mackey said. “She’s a had a great week of practice. It’s been a great lift for us.”

Lindsay added 14 points, while the team got just 10 from Droesch, who was playing in her first game in two weeks following a school suspension.

Mackey said he expects Droesch to be her old self when the team takes the floor Friday night against PSAL champs Murry Bergtraum.

“It’s hard to miss a couple of weeks and come back to play at the level everyone expects from you,” Mackey said.

Mackey should need Droesch at her best against the athletic Bergtraum team, which trounced Francis Lewis 72-36 for the PSAL crown Sunday. The three-time defending public school champs are 27-0 heading into Friday’s confrontation.

“Every team we played this year is up for our team,” Mackey said. “They’re going to b a tough game. They’re very talented and very athletic. It’s going to be a great match-up.”

Christ the King has only one blemish this season, a 65-62 loss to Bullis Prep of Potomac, Md. January in Philadelphia, to tarnish an otherwise perfect 27-1 record. That loss, however, has served the team well in big games.

“That might be a good thing for us,” Mackey said. “I’m confident going into every game. I’m confident we’ll be prepared. We’re conditioned for that.”

If CK wins Friday it will advance to the Class ‘A’ State Federation finals.

Reach Sports Editor Anthony Bosco by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 130.

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